At the start of the pandemic in April of 2020, we contacted our friend and reporter for The Washington Post, Amber Ferguson about what we were noticing in the caregiving community of WAGS of SCI since the pandemic began. Amber had written the 2018 piece for the Post on the WAGS of SCI group, so we thought that she would be very interested in a follow up about the plight Covid-19 had put WAGS who also care-give in..
SO what is the issue? Women who were common law partners and wives to their partners with Spinal Cord Injuries had to step up and look after their partners full time – relieving the health care system – without pay, support or recognition. This highlighted the issue that has plagued our community for decades: if you are a wife or girlfriend to someone with an SCI, and provide better more reliable care, you cannot be compensated (or are compensated below minimum wage). There are only 8 states that allow spouses/common law partners to be paid caregivers… and worse yet, if you marry your partner, those hours become drastically reduced or eliminated. The disabled partner also loses valuable medical benefits because of a combined income that isn’t below the poverty line. It’s like we are being punished for choosing love.
Where we live in Canada things are not much better even though we have a public health care system: we have to either get divorced or move out in order to be compensated for the choice in care we provide. We have always felt like these policies were made in the 1950s and never changed…
After 15 months of sourcing, interviews, follow ups and intense research, the article about unpaid, unrecognized spousal caregiving for people with SCI was released via The Washington Post on August 6th 2021 and in print on august 8th on the front of the Business section. We are incredibly thankful to ALL the women who stepped up and shared their incredibly personal stories in order to bring much needed awareness and hopefully CHANGE to these outdated policies.
In this episode, we do not discuss the article, we just read it for you in case you did not have access to the article for any reason, or, prefer to listen to it via the podcast. We hope you enjoy! xoxo
This episode is sponsored by Wishart Brain and Spine Law https://brainandspinelaw.com. Robyn Wishart and her team of SCI Lawyers specialize in helping those who are injured live a life and NOT a claim and serve clients all over North America as advocates. To learn more about what Robyn is doing to help the WAGS of SCI community, visit our website or contact Wishart Law directly to discuss your claim for FREE.
Shout Out to Rebecca Minna of For The Love Of Parking https://www.fortheloveofparking.com, an advocacy platform dedicated to creating awareness and education around access for all. Rebecca is dedicated to changing ADA laws, but needs YOUR help! She also sells medical grade Percussor massage devices on her “shop” page (use code WAGSOFSCI for a discount!) For more information visit https://www.fortheloveofparking.com and use the hashtag #DontParkLikeAPunk